We were in Victoria for New Year's Eve and went to this restaurant for dinner. We chose this one because of the Tripadvisor reviews: all excellent and nothing else. The only bad thing people had to say was that the decor left a bit to be desired. No problem. We've seen enough Asian restaurants and seldom do you find more than the typical uninspired interior. Most times, the plain ones have some of the best food.
Let me first state that we've eaten a LOT of Vietnamese food. My wife is Vietnamese and regularly cooks Vietnamese food and we both lived in Vancouver and about 50% of the time we went out to eat, it was for Vietnamese food. So, this dinner we wanted to try a Vietnamese restaurant in Victoria because we have only tried a few others, some of them chains.
When we were there, there was only about 20 people in the place and it wasn't too busy (about half full). We ordered Pho, Bun Bo Hue, and salad rolls. The salad rolls arrived quickly and were disappointing. They were the typical bland salad roll: iceberg lettuce, rice noodles, prawns, and cooked pork. There were nothing exciting to them and the pork tasted old, very old, like it had been cooked a few days before.
Then the soup arrived. First off, there were bean sprouts, lime, and cilantro served as accompaniments to the soup. No basil, no chillies, very disappointing. We asked for basil and the waiter brought more cilantro, just a different kind. Maybe the server wasn't aware of what should be served with the soup. Second, the Pho broth was average at best and seemed to be missing a lot of key ingredients. Third, the Bun Bo Hue was all wrong. It was served with small, soft vermicelli noodles rather than the larger, typical rice noodles. The broth tasted as though it was a combination of the Pho broth and a commercial Tom Yum paste. It reminded us more of a Thai hot and sour soup than a good Hue style beef soup.
This restaurant didn't seem to follow traditional Vietnamese recipes and seemed to caters to a more non-asian crowd. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't horrible, it just wasn't as "traditional" as we hoped. We probably won't be back.